Columns/Opinion, Letters to the Editor

Better uses for $100M than funding ‘arms race’

Ace Parsi, Morgantown
WVU Athletic Director, Shane Lyons, made an argument that his $100 million proposal for WVU athletic facilities was a need rather than a want, noting, “This is not an arm’s race — these are sorely needed projects.”
Allow me to give you a reality check: Your sorely needed $5 million golf practice facility with heated bays (whatever that is) is a want and not a need. In a state that has the highest opioid death rate in the country, where teachers had to go on strike while advocating for the most modest of pay increases, and, oh yeah, student tuition goes substantially up each year, there is no way to argue that any of Lyons’ proposals are anything but luxuries.
Even the privately funded portions of the proposal should give us pause and make us think that we should tax the uber-rich more who would pay for something like this.
It’s not a surprise that Lyons is so out of touch with what real people would call “needs.” At our state’s public university, he earns $550,000 a year to be an athletic director. So allow me to bring you down to earth: Being able to support and recruit better golfers with a $5 million facility should be this state’s public university’s 1,453rd priority, right below recruiting and training better dog catchers (at least the latter does something useful).
Note, I have nothing against golfers (any of the other items on Lyons’ wish list fall under the same category); I just don’t think paying a huge sum to switching their tee and hole locations is worth this state’s consideration.
If anything, this boldly dumb suggestion should drop jaws. I know we don’t agree on much across our political divides these days, but whether you’re a conservative or liberal reading this, if you think we have a better use for $100 million than funding Lyons’ arms race, you should write your state elected officials and call the university to tell them so.